The Book of Gates is an ancient Egyptian funerary text which describes the various bxn.t (gates), also known as a pylon (πυλών) in ancient Greek. I have been unable to find the full name of the Book of Gates in the actual ancient Egyptian words. The term is not Shat am Duat "book of that which is in the afterlife", or rw nw prt m hrw “Book of Coming Forth by Day”. The spaces between the Gates are known as qrrt, or circles, and also has a Book, which I would like to find the actual title to as well. Any help with this would be greatly appreciated.

2 Answers 2


"Book" is a rather imprecise term which to us implies a title. The "Books" are loose collections of funerary texts. There is no "standard" table of contents and the texts vary from scroll to scroll and change over time.

The "Book" of the Dead typically opens with:

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/ruː nuː pɛrɛt ɛm hɛruː/

Which is perhaps better translated as utterances (the mouth on the left with the vertical line and the three dots indicating plural) of coming forth in the day.

The reason this text has a "title" is because the "Book" of the Dead is an instruction manual for the ka (soul) of the deceased to reach the hall of Ma'at. Otherwise said, the "title" means: "this is what you should do and say in situation x, y and z".

The "Book" of Gates is not primarily an instruction manual like the "Book" of the Dead, but a loose collection of more "illustrative" religious texts. It describes the journey of a deceased soul though the underworld with reference to the journey of the sun god (Ra) during the hours of the night.

There are twelve chapters (separate texts), each dedicated to a gate and gatekeeper (the twelve figures in the depiction below)

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Note there is significant overlap between the texts of amduat, book of the dead and book of gates. They probably all originate in the Coffin Texts, but the Book of Gates is thought to be a later rendition.


I have found the answer to this question. On page 175 of the book The Gods of the Egyptians, or Studies in Egyptian Mythology Vol. 1, by E.A. Wallis Budge on page 175: šꜥt n sbꜣw (𓏛𓏏𓏤𓍼𓏤𓈖𓋴𓃀𓇼𓄿𓅱𓆱𓏥𓉐𓏥) "The Book of the Pylons." The conventional anglicization: Shat en Sebau.

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